Mbira dzeNharira

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Tendai Gahamadze (Left) and Chaka Chakandika (Right)

Mbira DzeNharira was formed by Tendayi Gahamadze in 1987 in Norton, a town 40 km west of Harare. They have released 11 CD and 3 DVD albums.

Background

In 1987, Gahamadze formed the band Mbira dzeNharira. The group was pregnant for 11 years and finally in 1998 gave birth to their first born, the debut album Rine Manyanga Hariputirwe, which became an instant household phenomenon with the hit songs Ndoenda Kwaambuya, Magamba, Muchati Kudiiko, Tatadzeiko and Kumakorodzi.

On asked where the name Mbira Dze- Nharira came from, Gahamadze responded, “In 1985, the spirit medium (of the spirit called Botemupote) occupied a farm owned by Mr Hinds. This farm was Kawanzura’s ancestral land. The farmer tried to evict him but failed.

“This place is part of the Nharira Shrine (between Norton and Harare) where cultural ceremonies, including rain-making ceremonies, are held. So, the name Mbira dzeNharira comes out of admiration of the prowess of Botemupote” said Gahamadze.[1]

Mbira dzeNharira revolutionized the sound of mbira by electrifying and rearranging the instruments into bass, baritone, rhythm and lead mbira. The ancient 22 key mbira dzavadzimu was a three octave instrument with the keys on the right standing for lead keys, on the upper left is the rhythm section, and on the bottom left is the bass section.

This made it possible for one mbira player to be able to perform solo at ceremonies and gatherings, and sometimes it could be two or three players rotating on those three octaves.

Mbira DzeNharira decided to increase the number of octave to six using four mbiras on the mbira dzavadzimu. Complex rhythms were born and mbira music took a more vibrant and multi rhythmic style which completely changed the sound.

The members of the group who have been together for eleven years are Tendayi Gahamadze who composes, sings and plays the baritone mbira (Dongonda), Clemmence Rice who plays the bass mbira (Nhovapasi), Takawira Devera who plays lead mbira (Nheketo) and Tendai Kazuru who plays shakers (hosho). All the players of instruments except the bass man are also singers.

As the group ages it matures more in depths of Shona music.

Ndini kudzana, nechimbo nengoma

Ndini chidyo nemadyirwo acho, ndiniwo mafaro ekupembera Ndini chipfeko nemapfekerwo acho, ndiniwo kuchema kwemarwadzo ose Ndini mumhanzi, ndini maungira, ndiniwo mutakuri wemimba Ndini nhimbe, mafuwe nemapira, ndiniwo mudzimu unoyera

Dzoka iwe nekuti ndiri upenyu, nzira yeupenyu Usina nzira hauna kwaunosvika Unenge danda rakafa rakayangarara pamusoro Richisundwa zvisina gwara, risina kwarakananga Ruchitevedzera masundesunde emasaisai

Ndini ndinopa chimiro Munhu ari zvaari pamusana pangu Imbwa inoonekwa nehumbwa hwayo Munhu anoonekwa nehunhu hwake

Ndini mubatanidzi Ndini maunganidze wevanhu Ndinopa pfungwa yekuziva kwawakabva Neyechikonzero chekurarama nechikonzero chekufa

Iwe munhu ukandidzvinyirira wazvidzvinyirira Ndakambofamba nemumarenje makarekare Ndichipinga nyika nemiko nehuyerwa Ndicharanga zvangu vanozvitadzisa maune

Kana ndada kudzosera, ini chivanhu cheAfrika

Mbira dzeNharira is an ancient style of music. It consists of Shona musical repertoires, folk tales and Spirit composed music. It is spiritual and can be played at traditional ceremonies, it has preserved the Shona culture and traditions through its art work.

Discography

CD Albums

  • Rine Manyanga Hariputirwe
  • Gomo Remandiriri (2000)
  • Kudya Kwenzeve
  • Tozvireva Tingaputike Neshungu
  • Toita Zverudo (2003)
  • Gonamombe Rerume (2005)
  • Fare Fare Tindike (2006)
  • Todya Pfora (2008)
  • Nyamubvambire Wamuka (2010)
  • Dziva Renjuzu (2011)
  • Bvungurungwi KwaWaze
  • Chivimbanamuyeni

DVD Albums

  • Rwendo Rwekure
  • Fare Fare Tindike
  • Dziva Renjuzu

Culture Centre

In 2005, Mbira DzeNharira was granted a culture centre by Norton Town Council as a token of appreciation for putting Norton on the cultural tourism map. The centre is funded by Mbira DzeNharira with occasional assistance from a local businessman, George Mutongwiza. In 2006 they released “Fare Fare Tindike”, with the hit songs “Musanditange”, “Marimuka” and “Shanyai”.


References

  1. Constance van Niekerk, [1], The Herald, Published: 19 August, 2013, Accessed: 26 September, 2020